The Nature Institute’s education staff develops lively, nature-themed curricula with Illinois and Missouri Learning Standards in mind. TNI field trips are designed for public, private, and home school students, scout groups, church groups, and university groups. Hobbyists and naturalists of all ages are welcome to set up field trips which can be tailored specifically to your needs. Workshops are periodically available for teachers to provide Continuing Professional Development Units.
We offer year-round opportunities for children, adults, and families to connect with nature. Educators introduce native habitats, flora, and fauna of Illinois to learners, using the surrounding woodlands, wetlands, and prairies as experiential outdoor classrooms. Whether our staff comes to you or your students come on site, TNI’s education team will help expand understanding and appreciation of the natural world, and foster scientific capability using innovative teaching tools and techniques. Students learn with live animals, mounted specimens, monitoring equipment, and hands-on discovery. All programs include specific academic activities that meet Illinois state standards and national environmental education standards.
2 hours – $3.00 per student | Over 2 hours – $4.00 per student | No cost for adults
The Nature Institute (TNI) features a natural, playground-style, outdoor classroom conveniently located in front of Talahi Lodge. This easily accessible outdoor classroom is wonderful for field trip and home school groups and our visitors. This classroom, named “Discovery Woods,” was installed in 2015 with a natural play area featuring Decomposer Grove, Fossil Dig, Burrow, and Geology Garden in memory of Judy Hoffman and others.
Many of these features were made with recycled construction materials and non-native Osage orange trees found on our preserve. These additions were created to showcase team building, discovery, and imaginative play all with natural, sustainable products.
In 2017, Nature Explore, a collaboration between Arbor Day Foundation and Dimensions Educational Research Foundation, officially authenticated the “Discovery Woods” as a certified “Nature Explore Classroom.”
With over 30 years of experience in environmental education, TNI has perfected different programs in their curriculum. Here are some example programs organizers can choose from:
On Site Field Trip
In School Outreach
Step 1: Review the calendar below for available dates. Choose your top three times for availability. The calendar is best compatible when using Chrome as your web browser. In the event that you cannot view the calendar, please continue to step 2 and fill out the form with your top three dates.
Step 2: Fill out the form below the calendar and our education staff will email you with a full confirmation within 3-5 business days. This form is the best way to communicate with our education team.
Need funding assistance? Check out available Illinois Biodiversity Grants through the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.